An adaptation of Lord of the Flies, William Golding’s classical novel about a group of young boys stranded on a remote island, is imminent. But this time, it’s returning to theater screens with a twist…
An all-female cast.
Scott McGehee and David Siegel, known for directing Bee Season and What Maisie Knew, will act as both screenwriters and directors for the remake.
Scott McGehee (left), David Siege / Images Courtesy of Variety
This book-to-screen effort definitely won’t be the first time that Golding’s work has been adapted for our viewing pleasure. In 1963, Peter Brook was the first film director who successfully turned the novel into a film. In 1990, Harry Hook worked with Warner Bros to produce another remake.
“We want to do a very faithful but contemporized adaptation of the book, but our idea was to do it with all girls rather than boys. It is a timeless story that is especially relevant today, with the interpersonal conflicts and bullying, and the idea of children forming a society and replicating the behavior they saw in grownups before they were marooned.”
Moreover, McGehee said that the subject matter “is aggressively suspenseful, and taking the opportunity to tell it in a way it hasn’t been told before, with girls rather than boys, is that it shifts things in a way that might help people see the story anew. It breaks away from some of the conventions, the ways we think of boys and aggression. People still talk about the movie and the book from the standpoint of pure storytelling,” he said.
Whether this is an effort to reinforce gender equality or a decision entirely motivated by issues of style, Warner Bros’ employment of an all-female cast has attracted criticism on social media platforms, but not for the reasons you might think. While all-female remakes often attract sexist backlash, leading feminists are weighing in with negative comments about a female Lord of the Flies.
Author Roxane Gay questioned on Twitter whether the same occurrences would take place had there been a group of girls.
An all women remake of Lord of the Flies makes no sense because… the plot of that book wouldn’t happen with all women.
— roxane gay (@rgay) August 31, 2017
Rachel Syme, writer at the New Yorker, commented that:
what could go wrong here https://t.co/KgP7p4hfLB
— #rachelsyme (@rachsyme) August 30, 2017
Feminist author Jessica Valenti displayed a lack of approval on this matter as well:
The all-female Lord of the Flies will just be a group of young women apologizing to each other over and over till everyone is dead.
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) August 31, 2017
Other humorous commentaries include:
Guys I know we’re all upset about LORD OF THE FLIES but it should make my all-human adaptation of ANIMAL FARM easier to sell.
— Jessica Ellis (@baddestmamajama) August 31, 2017
“Lord of the Flies, But With Women, Written by Men”
That’s my exact level of hell. Thanks for that, media.
— Sabrina NaNo Witch (@introvertedwife) August 30, 2017
Dudes writing a female version of LORD OF THE FLIES is like a gift to the problematic think piece gods…
— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) August 30, 2017
Lord of the Flies starring only girls: “Girls get marooned on an island. Band together to find food, shelter, rescue. Nobody dies. The end.”
— Clara Mae (@ubeempress) August 30, 2017
Intriguing as it sounds, this is not the first gender-flipping film in Hollywood. For instance, Lionsgate recently announced that St. Vincent will direct a female-led reboot of Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. At this point, no one can guarantee success or failure. With a group of female actresses McGehee and Siege may succeed in taking innovative approaches that enhance our perception of Golding’s timeless classic.
Feature Image Courtesy of Janus Films